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Leading health organisations including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation are calling on the federal government to address climate change in the National Preventative Health Strategy, which is currently in development.

According to the organisations, the strategy’s consultation paper does not include climate change in any of the six focus areas.

In a joint statement, the group, which included 32 health organisations, said a National Preventative Health Strategy that is fit for purpose in the 21st century must address climate change or it will fail in its objectives.

“Climate change poses the biggest threat to health this century. The National Preventative Health Strategy must tackle climate change to protect and promote health. If we don’t, everything else risks being done for nought,” said Climate and Health Alliance Executive Director Fiona Armstrong.

“If the government chooses to ignore the health impacts of climate change, they are refusing to prevent that thousands more Australians will suffer from infectious disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness, heat stress, mental illness, violence, food insecurity, poor water quality and poorer nutrition.”

Some of the other health groups that partook in the joint statement include the Climate and Health Alliance, Australian Health Promotion Association, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and the Australian Association of Social Workers.

The strategy’s Consultation Paper is open for feedback until 28 September.